Four tips for office chair manufacturers (and one for my father)

Dear Readers,

I have a confession to make. My father ordered a new chair from a company that’s not Euroffice.
(I know you’re horrified, but he acted before he could be stopped, which sounds intentionally dramatic.)

The old chair was defunct, kaput.  Arms missing, torn upholstery and padding the colour of dried egg yolk exploding from various holes. Even the seat itself had broken; a nut had sheared so that you’d tip and slide off if you sat on the edge of the chair.

He thought a new chair would be a good idea. Something big, sturdy and comfortable. Unfortunately it’s big, sturdy and still in pieces on the floor. Why? Because it wasn’t clear how the chair should be put together.

So, I’ve decided to address the chair’s manufacturer here – avoiding names to protect the guilty –  listing the problems I had trying to assemble it.

If you’re going to put all the parts for the chair in little plastic bags, make sure you put all the parts of the chair in said bags.  Deciding to hide the bolts, but only the bolts, in the body of the chair results in the buyer spending 45 minutes looking for a bag of bolts because, ‘Everything else was in a plastic bag so they must be too, right?’

If you absolutely, positively, must put the bolts in the chair, make sure the assembly instructions clearly say ‘THE BOLTS ARE ALREADY IN THE CHAIR’.  Don’t hide this fact in tiny text, right above a big diagram. Because, remarkably, people’s eyes will be drawn straight to the diagram, thus missing the piddly text.

Make sure the bolts are a reasonable size. We know you don’t want to waste metal, but having a bolt that’s just long enough  – and read that as just ‘juuuuuuuuusst long enough’ – is enormously frustrating and the reason why the chair is still in pieces on the floor; we couldn’t reach the bolt-hole. (Pun intended.)

It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.  Or, in less divine terms, it’s easier to put a big bolt into a big hole than a small bolt into a tiny hole.  Also, if the camel was lit up it would be easier to thread at night, verily, if you had luminous bolts you wouldn’t have to squint to see what you were doing.

And for number five, a personal request:

5. Dad, if you’re going to ask me to put together furniture, at least order it from Euroffice! The looks they give me… *grumble grumble*

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